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Posts Tagged ‘Pernice Brothers’

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Yours, Mine and Ours

Joe Pernice & Norman Blake at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t think Toronto necessarily has an international reputation as a destination for expatriate pop geniuses, but apparently Canadian women hold a certain appeal for them. Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers has been up here for the better part of eight years while Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub moved to Kitchener a couple years ago – both on account of their Canadian wives – and on Friday night, they were on stage together at The Dakota Tavern for a low-key show together. It had been advertised as a Joe Pernice show with the promise of a “special guest”, and while a show from Joe alone would be worth pencilling into the calendar, once the faintly-veiled clues as to who said guest would be got out, it turned into a must-see.

Anyone expecting a high-falutin’ musical summit between two of the finest pop songwriters around would have done well to dial down their expectations, though. The show was much more of a back porch strumalong between two old friends who just happened to have one hell of a songbook to draw from and though it had its share of sloppy moments, that arguably made it even more special and memorable than if it had been meticulously rehearsed. Pernice started out with a short solo set that drew from his many projects – Pernice Brothers, Joe solo, Scud Mountain Boys – and included a new song entitled “Surf’s Up” that he revealed was from a new, just-completed Scuds record. Scoop!

Blake was then invited onstage and the two spent the rest of the show playing each other’s songs – Pernice on a standard acoustic, Blake on a Nashville-strung parlour-body – and reminding the gathered that they were two of the funniest stage banterers in the business with some great repartee. There was plenty of time for banter as Blake’s guitar required plenty of tuning and retuning – their first run through of “Baby Lee” went further out of tune with each strum and forced a do-over – but when they were able to get onto a song, it was grand if clearly not overly rehearsed. Even with a music stand overflowing with notes onto the floor between them, they were happy to do things off the cuff – Blake had to teach Pernice the chords to “You Was Me” from his Jonny side-project with Euros Childs on the fly (it turned out fine) and even though their take on Fanclub’s “I Don’t Want Control Of You” was a bit of a comedy of errors, they still made it tremendously entertaining.

The stuff that was more properly arranged, however, was nothing sort of sublime. Hearing them trade verses on “Everything Flows” was easily the highlight of the night and their finale of “Alcoholiday” not far behind. You obviously didn’t have the wall of harmonies that Teenage Fanclub proper can offer, but Pernice’s falsetto was a pretty good stand-in. It wasn’t just about the Fanclub material, mind, as their work on “Loving Kind” off the last Pernice Brothers album Goodbye Killer was stirring and their cover of The Zombies’ “The Butcher’s Tale” darkly affecting. Though they obviously could have kept going all night, a hard curfew forced them to cap things at 90 minutes though they were permitted an encore of Fanclub’s “Start Again” that was a divine finale.

It’s not clear if this tweet is a joke or a promise, but an actual collaboration between the two – or even some more of these casual-vibe shows – would be a great treat and a far better way to enjoy having these talents as locals than going through their trash.

The Calgary Herald has an interview with Joe Pernice about his plans to release two albums this year – the aforementioned new Scuds record and the long-promised new Pernice Brothers album.

Photos: Joe Pernice & Norman Blake @ The Dakota Tavern – June 22, 2012
MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
MP3: Scud Mountain Boys – “Grudge Fuck”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “It’s All In My Mind”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Everything Flows”
MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
MP3: Jonny – “Gloria”

Dirty Projectors are giving away a couple tracks from their forthcoming Swing Lo Magellan, out July 10. They play The Music Hall on July 6.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Dance For You”
MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”
Video: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”

The Alternate Side has a session and Clash, Houston Press, and Indy Week have interviews with Lower Dens. They play Lee’s Palace on July 17.

Beirut has released a video for the title track of last year’s The Rip Tide. They are at The Sound Academy on July 19.

Video: Beirut – “The Rip Tide”

The Antlers are streaming a track from their forthcoming EP Undersea, due out July 24.

Stream: The Antlers – “Drift Dive”

The Shins have rolled out a new video from Port Of Morrow; they’re in town August 4 opening up for The Black Keys at The Molson Amphitheatre.

Video: The Shins – “No Way Down”

Pitchfork talks to Cat Power about her new record Sun, due for release on September 4.

Aimee Mann has given Rolling Stone the title track of her new record Charmer to stream. It’s out September 18.

Stream: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has taken their reunion from the stage into the studio and are set to release their first new album since 2004’s Damage in Meat & Bone, out September 18. Then they’ll take in back to the stage with a series of live dates that includes an October 18 appearance at The Horseshoe in Toronto. Stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Black Mold”

San Fransciso goth-gazers The Soft Moon will be at The Drake Underground on September 22, tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: The Soft Moon – “Tiny Spiders”
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Michael Gira’s Swans will make an appearance at Lee’s Palace on October 25 in support of their new double-record We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head, tickets for that $26.50 in advance.

MP3: Swans – “Sex God Sex”

Matt & Kim are preparing for the Fall release of their new record Let’s Go with a video for the title track.

Video: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

Boulder Weekly has a tete-a-tete with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The Daily Herald and Missoulian chat with Nels Cline.

Interview talks to Munaf Rayani of Explosions In The Sky.

Spinner documents a typical day in the life of The Flaming Lips, assuming that playing a free show in downtown Toronto as part of NXNE counts as typical for these guys. Maybe it does. You don’t know.

Okay, gotta go. San Francisco beckons.

Friday, May 6th, 2011

These Days

Review of Sleepy Vikings’ They Will Find You Here

Photo By Kelley JacksonKelley JacksonHere’s a somewhat disturbing trend – bands of young’ns drawing influence from the music I grew up with, despite the fact that they probably weren’t even out of diapers when it was contemporary. Disturbing mainly in the fact that it implies I’ve crossed some sort of generational checkpoint and the cycle of influences is looping in on itself, as it does.

Case in point, Tampa sextet Sleepy Vikings, whose acquaintance I first made at NXNE last year. Despite making a non-stop 26-hour drive from there to here and playing their showcase half-dead as a result, they still impressed with their decidedly ’90s-vintage sound, all beautifully sullen jangle and fuzz. The only recordings they had to offer then were a three-song EP dubbed Ghost, but it certainly augured well for the future.

And the future is now – or more accurately, next Tuesday when their debut They Will Find You Here is released. It takes those three songs from Ghost – which remain the standout moments – and adds another half-dozen compositions that mostly reinforce what they’ve already proven excellent at. But what’s most remarkable about They Will Find You Here isn’t so much the music itself but the mood that it, as a whole, conjures. Led by singer Tessa McKenna’s subtle twang and Julian Conner’s rough harmonies, Sleepy Vikings evoke the sense of ennui and melancholy that’s one of the less-celebrated aspects of being young. They sound too resigned to be called angsty, even in their more fiery moments, but with that comes an honesty and vulnerability that would have been lost if delivered with more bluster.

I initially liked Sleepy Vikings because they sounded a lot like bands I used to – and still do – enjoy; now I like them because they remind me of things I used feel – though thankfully not nearly as much.

Orlando Weekly and therepubliq have band features.

MP3: Sleepy Vikings – “Calm”
MP3: Sleepy Vikings – “Flashlight Tag”

am New York talks to Kip Berman of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, in town at The Opera House on August 2.

Spinner talks to Warpaint about the Interface session they’ve just posted.

The Kills’ Jamie Hince talks to Spinner and The Georgia Straight.

According to Pitchfork, Ted Leo will be recording a none-more-analog live set for Jack White’s Third Man Records next week, to be released on vinyl shortly thereafter.

Interview talks to The Antlers’ Peter Silberman about their new record Burst Apart, due out on Tuesday. They play The Mod Club on June 14.

Consequence Of Sound reports that the Soft Bulletin live shows that The Flaming Lips have been performing will produce a live album in the near future.

eye, The AV Club and Cleveland Scene interview Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Simultaneously tending to both their their present and their past, R.E.M. has released another new video from Collapse Into Now while also revealing details of their next super-deluxe reissue set; next up is 1986’s Life’s Rich Pageant, which will be released in loaded-with-bonuses double-disc form on July 25. Interview has a talk with frontman Michael Stipe.

Video: R.E.M. – “Discoverer”

Fracture Compound interviews Superchunk.

It’s a J Mascis video bonanaza. In addition to a new official clip from Several Shades Of Why, there’s a set of in-studio performances over at Pitchfork.

Video: J Mascis – “Is It Done”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Buffalo Tom’s recent visit to the Bowery Ballroom in New York.

In conversation with Hitfix, Zach Condon reveals that a new Beirut record should be out sometime this Summer. Presumably before they play two nights at The Phoenix, August 2 and 4.

Hitfix also gets the scoop on Matt Ward’s return to being M Ward – solo artist – rather than Him or a Monster.

Fleet Foxes have posted up another MP3 from the just-released Helplessness Blues. They’re at Massey Hall on July 14.

MP3: Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean”

On May 31, My Morning Jacket will mark the release of Circuital that day with a live-to-YouTube concert at Louisvilleā€™s Palace Theater. The New York Times talks to filmmaker Todd Haynes, who will be directing the performance, as to what he’s got planned.

NOW finds out what’s going on in the world of Joe Pernice; home renovations, a new record due out this Fall, a possible/probable tour as Pernice Brothers and a solo show at the Dakota Tavern tonight.

Exclaim has details on the first new Richard Buckner record in five years; Our Blood will be out on August 2 and the first taste of what he’s been up to in that time is available to download.

MP3: Richard Buckner – “Traitor”

Old 97’s will follow up the release of last year’s The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1 with – wait for it – The Grand Theatre, Vol. 2 on July 5. Spinner talks to Rhett Miller about the record.

The Toronto Star, Houston Chronicle and The Daily Herald talk to Steve Earle. He’s at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Oh My Gawd!!!

The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tokyo Police Club and Fang Island at The Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve previously bemoaned the dearth of festivals in the 416 this Summer, but on Thursday night at the Molson Amphitheatre, if you squinted just right, it certainly looked like a festival. Sure, it was only four bands deep but it certainly had many of the necessary bases covered – buzzy young up-and-coming act? Check. Hometown representation? Check. Critically acclaimed, indie cred-toting vets? Check. Mind-bending, world-class headliner? Check and check.

Providence by way of Brooklyn’s Fang Island represented the rookies, and their 6:30 start time got them a good idea of what it was like at the last major festival to go down at this same venue, which is to say V Fest 2009 and the swathes of empty seats which many of the bands played to that weekend. But if the fact that people hadn’t made it down from work was bumming the five-piece out, it didn’t show; at several points in their set, they commented on how excited they were to be playing such a large stage and touring with The Flaming Lips. Of course, that was in between their unloading the massive, triple-guitar tapping, four-part harmony epics from their self-titled debut. Like prog rock edited down to just the crescendos, Fang Island’s set was a torrent of melodies and harmonies unleashed heavenwards. Yes, there is hype. Believe it.

I went digging for this post and was surprised to find it’s from only four years ago. That’s how long I’ve been acquainted with Tokyo Police Club, and it’s remarkable to see how far they’ve come in that time. Certainly, from day one they evidenced a knack for writing a good pop song but the sort of antics I mentioned in that first review were part of why I’d always dismissed them as being you know, for kids! Which was fine, since they weren’t especially aged themselves. But with their second full-length, the recently-released Champ, I was surprised at how much more mature-sounding they had become, trading more on melody and sophistication than shouts and handclaps and without sacrificing much at all in the way of energy or hooks. It’s got some weariness around the edges, which suits them – they’re still young, but have now been at this a while; the lines are well-earned. On stage for their first hometown show in support of the new record, however, they still bounced around with fresh-faced enthusiasm and while it’s hard to say if this was necessarily their crowd – not sure how much the Flaming Lips and Tokyo Police Club fan base venn diagrams intersect – they were appreciated.

Spoon may have just come through town in March as the big-name/big-venue headliners on an impressive bill of their own, the culmination of years of hard work and building their fan base, here they were again playing a supporting role and seemed perfectly fine with it. In fact, they seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to step out of the spotlight that’s been on them for most of this year – minor details, but seeing Britt Daniel take the stage in an immaculate white ensemble (but with black shoes – shame!), a proper upright piano to go along with Eric Harvey’s usual fortress of keyboards and a full, locally-recruited horn section to add a shiny exclamation mark to some numbers. But for all the polish, this Spoon is inherently rough and spiky; more like a dirty spork. And even with a set loaded with “hits” – though no “Everything Hits At Once” – their lean, clipped rock still felt dark and clubby, even in a big amphitheatre. And despite the size of the venue, I actually enjoyed this set somewhat more than the Sound Academy show as I was a) able to see and b) got to hear some of the songs I missed in that show’s encore on account of having to catch a cab – like “The Underdog”. This time with horns. Yes.

My history with The Flaming Lips is kind of long and twisty, and best summarized as they’re being the weirdest boundary of my listening in the late ’90s to a near-obsession at the turn of the century (I paid a guy in Kalamazoo, MI far too much for CD-Rs of the then-deleted Zaireeka because, well, I had to have it) to being kind of a prodigal, peripheral interest over the last couple records. Neither the overcooked At War With The Mystics nor last year’s sprawlingly messy Embryonic hit the spot with me, and it was somewhat alarming to me as a fan that their artistic energies seemed to be going more into the live show than writing songs.

But at least there were those live shows. I’d gotten a concentrated dose of the live Lips madness in 2006, seeing them twice in a month at Lollapalooza in Chicago and then again just over a month later at Toronto’s inaugural Virgin Festival, though that wasn’t a proper dose as their headlining slot famously went over curfew and the show was cut at barely half an hour. And despite promises to make it up to us soon, it took them almost four years to find their way back. Far too long, certainly, but you know? It’s hard to hold a grudge against a man in a giant plastic bubble firing confetti cannons at you.

It’s funny, but for all the reservations and criticisms I have for The Flaming Lips circa 2010, they all fade to nothingness as soon as the show begins. You know what it’s going to be – the bubble walk, the costumed dancers, the plumes of confetti (okay, the band entrance via LED-generated female bits was new) – but it just doesn’t get old. Though the general admission area allowed for personal space for most of the night, it was pretty well packed in up front by the time Wayne Coyne strode out onto them in his well-worn space bubble as the band led off with the instrumental, “The Fear”. When that bit of ceremony was done, it was time to fill the amphitheatre with confetti and get to proving my theory about their being less a musical entity than a theatrical one mostly false. Most of the set drew from either Embryonic or Mystics and while many of the visual aspects of their show were familiar from 2006, they clearly weren’t just delivering the same show. It had morphed and evolved along with the material, and as such what had been technicolour and cartoony circa Mystics was now accordingly weirder and trippier, in keeping with the darker, experimental vibe of Embryonic (though thankfully no agitated monkeys or Coyne’s nakedness made an appearance).

It was a little ways into the show that I realized that though I had seen the Lips live twice before, I had never actually seen them do a full performance (the truncated V has been covered and at Lolla, there were like a million other bands on at the same time so I’m sure I scurried after a bit) and as such, my impressions of the show were probably skewed by the sheer sensory overload of their grand entrance. But watching them once they’d gotten down to business – relatively speaking – it was pleasantly surprising just how much of a proper rock band they still were. When Coyne wasn’t working the crowd, which was a lot of the time sure, he never neglected his duties as lead singer and both Steve Drozd and Michael Ivins were all business with their myriad musical duties and Kliph Scurlock – whose “officialness” as a Flaming Lip is still unclear to me despite having manned the kit for over a decade – did a great job of making you forget that Drozd was an amazing drummer before moving to the guitarist/multi-instrumentalist role. It was a shame that with so much emphasis put on the recent material, that the truly classic Soft Bulletin – the record that will define the Flaming Lips in history – was ignored completely, but it was nice that they reached back to 1993 for Transmissions From The Satellite Heart for “She Don’t Use Jelly” and the acoustic “Yoshimi” was pure loveliness. And of course they encored with “Do You Realize?”. Of course.

The real magic of a Flaming Lips show, however, is how it manages to transcend its context as either rock concert or circus sideshow and become something truly unique and magical. Coyne comes across as just as much a prophet up there as he does a carnival barker or rock singer – though I’ve never heard any other prophet call his congregation “motherfuckers” quite so much – bringing a message of peace and love that never felt naive, but seemed to acknowledge through the madness of its presentation that asking to simply love one another is one of the most complex and incomprehensible requests anyone could ever make. The Lips get that, they do. But they’re asking anyways. And they’re doing it with laserhands.

The Flaming Lips. There’s nothing else like it.

There’s reviews of the show at The Toronto Sun, eye, Exclaim, Radio Free Canuckistan, Chart, Panic Manual and BlogTO. Spinner talks to Fang Island about hitting the road with The Lips, Blare has an interview with Tokyo Police Club and Spinner, eye and The Montreal Gazette have Lips features.

Photos: The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tokyo Police Club, Fang Island @ The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – July 8, 2010
MP3: Spoon – “The Underdog”
MP3: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
MP3: Spoon – “The Way We Get By”
MP3: Spoon – “This Book Is A Movie”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”
MP3: Spoon – “Chips & Dip”
MP3: Spoon – “Idiot Driver”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Juno”
MP3: Fang Island – “Daisy”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Powerless”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “I Can Be A Frog”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Watching The Planets”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The W.A.N.D.”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Mr. Ambulance Driver”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize?”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Part 1)”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Are You A Hypnotist?”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Race For The Prize”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Waitin’ For A Superman”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “This Here Giraffe”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Bad Days”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Christmas At the Zoo”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “When You Smile”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Be My Head”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “She Don’t Use Jelly”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Turn It On”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Redneck School Of Technology”
Video: Spoon – “Written In Reverse”
Video: Spoon – “The Underdog”
Video: Spoon – “Don’t You Evah”
Video: Spoon – “The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine”
Video: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
Video: Spoon – “Sister Jack”
Video: Spoon – “Jonathan Fisk”
Video: Spoon – “Small Stakes”
Video: Spoon – “Everything Hits At Once”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Graves”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Tessellate”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Your English Is Good”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Citizens Of Tomorrow”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Cheer It On”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Nature Of The Experiment”
Video: Fang Island – “Careful Crossers”
Video: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Daisy”
MySpace: The Flaming Lips
MySpace: Spoon
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club
MySpace: Fang Island

In advance of releasing their first new record in forever with Majesty Shredding on September 14, Superchunk are reissuing their second and third records – No Pocky For Kitty and On The Mouth – in remastered digital and analog for on August 17.

MP3: Superchunk – “Skip Steps 1 & 3”

Pitchfork brings news of a new Deerhunter record to be named Halcyon Digest and released on September 28.

The Fly talks to Warpaint, whom they’ve declared “a band to watch”. You can do just that when they play Wrongbar on August 11 and Massey Hall supporting The xx on September 29. Their debut album is due out around that time as well.

Filter chats with James Hanna of Asobi Seksu.

Pitchfork and Billboard interview Sleigh Bells, in town at the Phoenix on July 20.

Exclaim interviews James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

Pernice Brothers have turned the “Pernice To Me” book of tweets into a puppet show. Of course they have.

Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers talks to Destroy Before Reading and says there’s no real reason an Archers Of Loaf reunion couldn’t happen. Crooked Fingers just released the Reservoir Songs 2 covers EP and are working on a record of new material.

Beatroute talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

The Louisville Courier-Journal solicits influences from M Ward, whose current ongoing concern She & Him have just released a new video.

Video: She & Him – “Thieves”

Blurt contemplates the story of Love.

Monday, June 28th, 2010

The Brutalist Bricks

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and Screaming Females at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangUnderstatement? This has been a very fucked weekend in Toronto. From the moment it was announced late last year that downtown Toronto would host the G20 summit of world leaders this last weekend in June, it has been an inevitability that things would turn out this way – an overwhelming police presence on city streets to greet masses of protesters and demonstrators who acted as camouflage for small groups of so-called anarchists set on turning things violent and wreaking mayhem – all while the world leaders met behind massive fences, oblivious to the tumult outside, and ultimately accomplishing nothing besides agreeing to maybe talk further about the same issues the next time they got together. In other words, the exact same script that has played out at every one of these summits over the last ten years, and with people feigning surprise and outrage whenever any of the above occurs (although the complete lack of leadership and accountability from every level of government and authority this weekend felt new – maybe the Toronto summit decided to allow some ad-libbing?).

Though out of town most of Saturday, I returned to find my neighbourhood had become a mess of smashed glass and boarded-up windows and though the flash points had moved elsewhere, the atmosphere was still extremely tense and discomfiting. Though staying home with the blinds drawn also seemed like a good course of action, a better option was available in heading out to Lee’s Palace where Ted Leo & The Pharmacists had the fortunate timing of playing that night. Or maybe unfortunate, considering that transit shutdowns and road closures made getting around the city difficult and the general advice seemed to be to stay home. Either way, the show was still on and while I might have otherwise liked a distraction from from everything going on in my city, I was curious to hear what Leo had to say. And get rocked.

There wasn’t a need to wait for the headliner for that, though, thanks to tourmates Screaming Females. Their name was a bit of a misnomer as of the trio, only frontwoman Marissa Paternoster was lacking a Y-chromosome but they made up for that bit of false advertising by delivering on the screaming part. Not literally, as in lung-shredding hollers though there was a bit of that, but their combination of classic rock riffage and new wave stutter was pretty impressive and Paternoster’s intensely awkward stage presence kind of entertaining. Their audience wasn’t especially sizeable, but it was appreciative.

“I know this is kind of a weird night”, Ted Leo said a little into their set, “but hopefully we can offer some catharsis”. This was as much comment on world politics as he offered at first, though he was more than willing to get into the state of the World Cup (sorry to see USA go but was fully behind Ghana). Instead, he let his set list do the talking – I don’t know what other cities had been getting, but for Toronto on this most particular of evenings, he and the Pharmacists delivered rocker after rocker, piledriving the fastest numbers and speeding up the others to terminal velocity, all delivered as such a punishing volume that Leo’s vocals were occasionally inaudible under the din. While he’s been touring as a four-piece for some time – they were still a power trio when I first started seeing them – this year’s Brutalist Bricks was the first written and recorded as such, and the new material which comprised the lion’s share of the set really benefitted from the extra complexity and power of James Canty’s second guitar. From the word go, there was no let up in the show’s energy save for when Leo stopped to converse with the crowd a bit, which had filled up nicely though not nearly to capacity, and crack a joke or two.

It was during one of these breaks later on that he finally said he felt obliged to comment on the G20 happenings, and after a bit of back and forth with a patron who wanted more rock, less talk, he basically left it by saying that every one of the songs he would play this night was written in the past ten years and under the shadow of corporate globalization. And that’s probably all that needed to be said; anyone who’s listened to his music, which I think would be everyone there, would know where his ideology lies and implicitly what his stance would be on summits like this and the protests that’d ensue. I’m not sure what I had expected. Maybe some sort of explanation or rationale for what was happening in my city or why it was necessary – and to his credit Leo offered as such but warned it would take “like nine hours” – but that’s unfair. This wasn’t a lecture hall but a rock show – and not a Billy Bragg rock show – and on that count, Leo had more than delivered what was expected. An excuse to pogo during “Me & Mia”, a stellar solo cover of Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes”, a glorious “Timourous Me” and – after handing over his guitar to Canty who broke a string on his – closed the show out with a bloodletting (literally) “Ballad Of The Sin Eater”. Ted Leo has never put on a bad show, but this one reached a new level of intensity and yes, as promised, catharsis that I thank him for and hope is never necessary again.

Photos: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Screaming Females @ Lee’s Palace – June 26, 2010
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The Mighty Sparrow”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Even Heroes Have To Die”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bomb Repeat Bomb (1954)”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The Sons Of Cain”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Me & Mia”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Squeaky Fingers”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Under The Hedge”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Come Baby Come”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Under The Hedge” (Treble In Trouble)
MP3: Screaming Females – “Arm Over Arm”
MP3: Screaming Females – “I Do”
Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The Mighty Sparrow”
Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Colleen”
Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.”
Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Me & Mia”
Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?”
Video: Screaming Females – “Buried In The Nude”
Video: Screaming Females – “Bell”
Video: Screaming Females – “Boyfriend”
Video: Screaming Females – “Electric Pilgrim”
MySpace: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
MySpace: Screaming Females

The National’s Matt Berninger tells Spinner about the time his luggage created a terrorist scare at an airport. Hi-larious.

Pernice Brothers have released a blockbuster, high-budget video from Goodbye, Killer. He’s taking over the editorial reins at Magnet this week, and they kick it off with a Q&A.

Video: Pernice Brothers – “Jacqueline Susann”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Venice Is Sinking.

David Dondero has set a July 23 at the Drake Underground in support of his new record Zero With A Bullet, due out August 3.

MP3: David Dondero – “Wherever You Go”

Nada Surf has recorded a video session for They Shoot Music.

Of Montreal’s new record False Priest will be out September 14, and the first MP3 is now available to download.

MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”

PitchforkTV serves up a TunnelVision session with The Depreciation Guild.

The Quietus has an exit interview with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

And if this past weekend has utterly drained you as well, stock up on some good karma by chipping in and helping this puppy frolic again.

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Here Sometimes

Blonde Redhead commit themselves to Sparkle motion

Photo By Pier Nicola D'AmicoPier Nicola D’AmicoI’ve tried this past week, as I barrelled through all the NXNE coverage, to stay on top of the most time-sensitive or interesting announcements, but a lot a lot of stuff has just been filed away for a post that wasn’t tied to the festival… and that post is today’s. Or at least one of them. There’s a LOT of stuff that’s a-backed up.

And the best of it started on Monday, when word got around that there was a new Blonde Redhead song available to download from their website. No announcement of a new record, which would be their first since 2007’s delectable 23, just a song – “Here Sometimes” – to whet the appetite for more of the New York trio’s uniquely artful dreampop. The tease didn’t last too long, though, as details of the band’s eighth long-player were revealed on Wednesday: Penny Sparkle will be released this Fall, again on 4AD, and the first sample – as well as the presence of Fever Ray’s producers – hint at a more synth-driven effort than 23‘s shoegazing six-string salute, though Alan Moulder was once again behind the final mixes so you can be sure that the guitars won’t be lost and will be fuzzy.

All that is really certain is that a 2010 already chock full of amazing album releases looks set to add one more to the pile on September 14 when Penny Sparkle is released.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”

Another trio with an atmospheric bent that have kept their fans waiting for a new record are Los Angeles’ Autolux, who have remained silent since releasing their 2004 debut Future Perfect. That silence ends August 3 with the release of Transit Transit, and they’re now giving away a download of the first single, in lossless M4A format, in exchange for your email on their website. And while my affection for the band has never been as intense as some of my peers – they were always a bit too heavy for my tastes – I’m digging what I’m hearing. I may have to check them out when they play Lee’s Palace on August 24.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have released a new video for their latest single, just released on 7″.

Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Say No To Love”

BrooklynVegan talks to Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes, who’s also got a new video out.

Video: Memory Tapes – “Bicycle”

Filter interviews Phantogram, who’ve got a date at Wrongbar on July 8.

NPR and Pitchfork have feature pieces on LCD Soundsystem.

Pitchfork checks in with Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes about how work on their new record False Priest, due out this Fall, is coming along. They have a date in Montreal scheduled for July 30 but nothing in Toronto yet – if it were happening, it’d have to be on the 28 or 29 because they’re in Vermont on the 31st.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles The Morning Benders, who are in town supporting The Black Keys at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4. They also recently recorded a World Cafe session for NPR.

Wye Oak chats with Anika In London. They’re in Toronto on August 28 opening up for Lou Barlow.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi.

Filter talks to Thao, whose tour with Mirah hits the Horseshoe this Saturday night.

The L has a big ass feature on Titus Andronicus – they’re coming to destroy the Horseshoe on July 14.

Cokemachineglow has words with The National bassist Scott Devendorf. The National are also profiled by CNN, alongside Spoon and The Hold Steady as artists who didn’t make it big until later in life.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review talks to Nicole Atkins, who announced this week that she’d signed with Razor & Tie for the release of her second album, now due out in early 2011 and still possibly entitled Mondo Amore. NYC Taper captured some of the new material in acoustic form when Atkins played a backyard session last weekend.

PopMatters interviews Tift Merritt.

The Phoenix and Spinner profile Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers through the Pernice To Me book of collected tweets from Pernice manager Joyce Linehan that accompanied pre-orders of their latest record Goodbye, Killer.

Each Note Secure, The San Jose Mercury News and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile Blitzen Trapper, in town at the Opera House on August 3.

Aquarium Drunkard has assembled a terrific tribute record to Television’s vastly underappreciated second album Adventure. It features contributions from a host of Los Angeles talents, including Local Natives, The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows and more. It’s available for free but donations to the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music are encouraged – so that SoCal can keep putting out great bands and they can keep appearing on great comps like this. It’s like the water cycle, people.